The Power of Influence

 

wind in trees

Now Influence is an interesting thing.
Perhaps we should ask the Scientists to explain it more readily for they would surely understand it better, even give an equation or formula to help us recognise its force ! But to a layman’s eye, we can only but muse and observe, and venture to write about its power.

Influence is invisible, but to the observers, its effect is at times a visible thing.  Just think of the wind.  You cannot see it, but you can see its effects on trees and clouds.

There is also, Influence of a different kind.
Outside one of our local suburban grocery stores they had put up a bright stand with a canopy, to sell pancakes and doughnuts.  I love pancakes.  On this particular autumn afternoon I decided to buy pancakes to take home to my family.  I placed my order and sat down on a bench to wait.  Along came a man and his daughter and bought doughnuts.   “Mmmm,”  he said, and I could almost hear his lips smacking as he took his second bite “they’re still warm”.   Well, I am going to buy pancakes, not doughnuts !  As I went forward to collect my pancakes I heard myself say, “and I’ll take three doughnuts too”.    doughnuts.jpg

Such is the power of invisible Influence, seducing my taste buds
and will power.

Let me go more regional.
I have a friend who lives up-country in the heart of South Africa, where the winters get really cold, with frosty winds that cut across anything warm.    She is a  passionate woman and is always crocheting blankets for community projects.
This winter Ronelle and her sister Dalene have embarked on  a campaign by making up community bags filled with necessities to distribute to those in service of others.  They have  influenced other knitting friends to help in their projects, and so their efforts have been able to extend and multiply.

R's Project bags
Community Bags ready for delivery.

The need is great.  She tells me that two Bloemfontein State hospitals frequently request blankets for the premature babies that are born there.  These young mommies, often unmarried women from the poor communities have nothing as they come in to deliver their babies.    These crocheted blankets provide for the babies to be wrapped up in kindness, as they go out.

R's blankets
A show of Blankets for Premature Babies

Then there is her outreach project to ten guys who go through garbage bins to collect anything recyclable, which they resell.   All this to create a job for themselves, to alleviate their poverty, and sustain their lives with a miniscule income.  They too receive a parcel of goodies from her project.
Furthermore, one of the Churches in Bloem have an outreach project to feed needy children with soup once a week.  This projects needs faithful volunteers who gather, cut, slice dice and make up the soup.   Ronelle has made up  parcels for these eight ladies who are instrumental in feeding 1500 children every week !

Ronelle is a community observer and worker at heart.    Not only does she influence and encourage others to participate in her community projects,  she acknowledges those volunteers who serve others,  observe those who alleviate their own poverty by standing up and doing something for themselves.
I would say that Ronelle is a strong Influence in her region.
You could say that the power of influence equals the power of one !   It takes just one person to make a difference in someone else’s world.

Chasing Influence wider, allow me to go global.
Mr Trump of the United States of America and Mr Kim Jong Un of North Korea have agreed, then disagreed,  and maybe will agree again,  that the summit planned to neutralise the use of the missile power-play of the North Koreans should go ahead and be resolved.     What hangs in the balance is the possible aversion of a global nuclear war !  Mr Moon of China has been very influential in the persuasion of Mr Kim to not only negotiate with the Americans,  but perhaps be a catalyst in freeing his very own people from the terror oppression of his former generation – for seemingly it was a reign of terror that put dread and fear in the hearts of the North Korean people, that have held them down like dead men standing !
Of course there are many working behind the scenes.  A lot of influencing, a lot of negotiating for the benefit for all the countries concerned – but that is just politics, and politics is all about power and influence !
The outcome of these talks can be disastrous for a world tottering on the brink of self-destruction, but if positive influence and common sense, and good sound negotiation, can prevail the outcomes will be so much more meaningful to a world wanting to grow and to be free, in trade and harmony and peace.

But Influence is not only the prerogative of politicians and the rich, it goes way beyond our world. Look at a night sky full of sparkling stars.  Gasp at the orbits of the planets !  See the influence of our moon on the ocean’s high and low tides.   Remember Newton’s apple ? – and wonder at gravity.    Gravity, now there is a powerful Influence of note, whose mystery still needs to be told.    There is Influence everywhere !

Stars in orbit

 

But of all the areas of Influence, the pinnacle, to my mind, is personal Influence.
Take Jabez for instance.  We do not know much about him.    He may have been a warrior king or a farmer.     We do not know.  What we do know is that he was an honourable man,  perhaps even a sensitive man, for he prayed the following prayer

…… Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!”    So God granted him what he requested. 
He’s story is found in 1 Chronicles 4:10  in the Bible.   To this very generation many, including me, often pray the Prayer of Jabez.   How is that for Influence down the ages !

Having said all that, it must be noted that the power of Influence, although invisible is very important.   For that reason I must, more often than not, ask myself – who is influencing me ?  And even more astutely – who am I influencing  ?

We are not merely an entity of being but a sphere of influence too, whether positive or negative, good or bad.     And may we have the wisdom to know, and the courage to make, big or small,  an influential difference in our world.

melting-candle-clipart-candle-flame-1

 

 

 

 

The Art of Art

 

“What is Art ?  –  or what, would you say, is the definition of Art,” I asked my daughter who has her own little Art school for pre-schoolers.   It is quite a question and I suspect that there is no correct answer, as Art plays such a part in the human condition.   It did however put me on a track of thought that wanted to explore the subject of Art, just a little.

These are some of the colourful artworks of  the pupils at the Sticky Fingers Art School .

You can see more Kids Art and happy faces at the Sticky-Fingers Art School at
Facebook : Sticky-Fingers.

Kids Art is important.  I learnt that the practise of Art can be fundamental to a child’s development, and exposing them to Art can help them in various ways.  But apart from that it will undeniably bring  smiles to their faces, as you can see from these photos.

The Writer on this Blog :  proverbs31woman.org/2016/09/06/watercolor-painting–toddler/#more-2524
says :
Afterall, Art is simply the meeting of all our senses at that point when it was being done”

She goes on and gives insight to the benefits of teaching kids in watercolours :
“Introduce them to the world of colour;  gives more concrete ideas about blending (primary) colours in order to produce a new (secondary) colour.  Can teach a toddler about emotions and the colour associated with them.   We can better understand the toddler’s feelings just by looking at their artwork.  Enhances parts of their brains that handle creativity;  may also enhance their problem solving skills;  and Art can build a child’s confidence.”

So Kids Art is important – and it makes them happy !

I have been surfing the blogosphere at WordPress, dropping in on Art blogs, and been amazed at some of the Art out there.  I found the Brandon Knoll  blog with his interesting creative work, linked with modern technology.    You may want to visit his blog and see his work on   https://chaoticshapes.com/portfolio-2/     Just imagine the diligence and patience he must exercise to do his kind of artwork.  And he takes his blog audience with him in the colouring-in process, as he encourages his followers to use their imagination and guess what’s coming out of his drawings.

Leopard
Leopard

 

Macaw
Macaw

Of course we get to the fine arts students who, to my mind do the “real” art stuff.  Those finely trained professionals who make a living out of their creativity.   This may well be the heart of Art.   Yet some of the master artists of their times, who painted with their very souls, seemingly only received recognition many years after they had gone.  Some even died paupers, and yet now their art works fetch astronomical prices.

Taking a glimpse over the history of Art, it reveals that Artists influence the times that they live in, their history-spaces so to speak, which may lead one to think that they are the subliminal influencers of their times, expressed through their artwork.

The Renaissance Period with  Leonardo da Vinci and others;  setting the way of Western art.

Mona Lisa
Leonardo da Vinci’s   Mona Lisa

 

Last Supper

Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper

The Impressionists with Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh and others;   painting their perceptions before nature.

Claude Monet
Claude Monet’s  Sunrise

 

Van Gogh's Tulip fields
Van Gogh’s  Bulb Fields

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Realism with Millet and others, celebrating the  working-class and peasants.

Millet Painting the Gleaners
Millet’s  The Gleaners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

picasso.jpg

Surrealism :  Pablo Picasso – ridiculous art, painting dreams and exploring the unconscious mind.

And so on.

Apart from its expression and beauty Art can also be functional.
Art and Science :
 In an article on Longreads Sept 2016   on Space Art….      … “Bill Hartman, a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in  Tucson,… sees his artistic role as that of a synthesizer, blending a  mass of disparate and highly specialised astronomical data into a more complete whole.     This is often necessary in a field that wallows in minutiae at the expense of the big picture.

Art has long been used to clarify science, and vice versa

He says, ” Leonardo da Vinci sketched waves to learn about wave motion, but dissected bodies so he could paint better portraits.
Space Art, for all the ostensible benefits of art and science working together, artists have found themselves being squeezed out of the field of astronomy, just as they had out of the life sciences in the 19th century. “

Indeed, a picture paints a thousand words !

Art and Psychology :
This quoted from a blog called Everyone Means  Something
https://phulme.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/genius-22-as-inspiration

“Surrealism…challenged fundamental premise about Art and creativity, shifting the focus from the conscious to unconscious processes introducing the role of chance in the role of the creative process, and treating that process as not merely aesthetic but political social and metaphysical”

Surrealism is crazy art, but is not our world a little crazy ?   And for those artists who have become a little ‘unhinged and unhooked’, may well be the ones who have something to show those who live in the normal world.

Starry Night

And as October is Mental Health Month, let us take a moment and salute Vincent van Gogh, who painted his famous Starry Night from an asylum room.

Well, Art, in one way or another, must have an important part to play in the forming of our personalities.  Therapists often use art to understand what is going on in the minds of their patients – perhaps because art is an expression of what we feel deep on the inside,  – even reflects what is going on outside of us, –  and often in our natural environment.            Perhaps Art is the view from the room on the inside of us.

God's hand

Art and God:
I quote from Alan Webster’s QT 24.11.16

“When we tap into God’s creative power, like in an artesian well, there is then a rush of creativity that we can draw from to express our own creativity.”

 

20171012_155129

This is my Art, now keep the words of  Leonardo da Vinci  in mind, when he said :  “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” !!  It’s the closest I can get to painting a straight line, (chuckle !) …. and its called “Distance”

Classifying Art is of course the right way to go to get the most from Art and for that we do need to appreciate the history of art.  And there is that, but, what about the little Kids Art, what about the new tech artist, and the daring dabblers with paints and brushes who do art for the fun of Art ?

For what is Art ?
Is it merely a fun exploration of our creativity, or the technique we apply, or does it become good art when emotion is expressed through colours, shapes and forms, creating a thing of beauty for others to see and appreciate.  I’d say all of these.
For the narcissist Art may merely be an expression of oneself, an extension of oneself, a recognition of oneself, a determination even a demand to be oneself.
But at heart Art is a soul thing – an artistic enquiring soul reaching deep into the creative processes to express some kind of truth or beauty, and done in the right spirit will want to share that beauty for others to see and appreciate too.

To my mind the art of Art is Art when it becomes an expression that releases the emotions, to both the artist  and  to the viewer.  To express and reflect the perceptions the intuitions and the imagination into an explosion of visual creativity.

Art is Art when it gives and takes to become a thing of beauty,  –  and,   “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” 

Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God will shine forth.
Psalm 50:2

three butterflies